Oklahoma Sooners vs. Baylor Bears Pick 1/20/20

by | Jan 20, 2020 | cbb

Oklahoma Sooners (12-5 SU, 6-11 ATS) vs. Baylor Bears (15-1 SU, 11-5 ATS)
When: Monday, January 20, at 9 p.m.
Where: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas
TV: ESPN

Point Spread: OKLA +10/BAY -10 (Best Bonus)
Total: O/U 136.5

Last Time Out:

Oklahoma beat TCU 83-63; Baylor beat Oklahoma State 75-68.

Scouting the Sooners:

In an era where seniors are often an afterthought, Oklahoma has gone completely the other direction. Kristian Doolittle, Austin Reaves, and Brady Manek, the Sooners’ three key seniors, have produced roughly 61 percent of the Sooners’ scoring. Beyond that Big Three, though, there’s not a lot there. The three seniors also happen to be the Sooners’ three best rebounders, and other than freshman De’Vion Harmon, nobody else in crimson and cream averages more than 5.6 points per game.

Oklahoma is not likely to change its identity at this point in the season, which means that the Sooners have to find ways to get their seniors free. This is very much a transitional offense that looks for quick shots, which might be a problem in this type of game.

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Scouting the Bears:

Baylor continues to win and continues to win by denying opponents looks at the basket. By that, I don’t just mean that Baylor makes opponents take tough shots. I mean that Baylor doesn’t even let its opponents take shots at the basket, whether they’re good looks or terrible looks. Only Virginia and Sacramento State have allowed fewer field goal attempts this season than Baylor, and the few attempts that teams get against Baylor tend to be pretty poor, as opponents shoot 38.2 percent against the Bears’ tenacious defense.

That’s what makes Baylor’s most recent against Oklahoma State a head-scratcher. The Cowboys do play in one of the toughest environments in the country at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Still, Baylor managed to hold Kansas to 55 points at Allen Fieldhouse, and Lawrence is a much tougher environment with a much tougher team than Stillwater. But when you’ve won 14 in a row, you’re entitled to an off day, and an off day for Baylor still ended up being a win. Now the Bears return home to Waco, where they’ve won eight in a row and have held opponents to an average of 54.5 points per game.

X-Factor:

Tempo. Oklahoma likes to push the pace, but the Sooners haven’t faced anyone quite like this Baylor squad. The basketball version of the Big 12 isn’t the defense-optional league that it is during the football season, but the only teams in the league that combine defense and slow tempo are Kansas, Baylor, and Texas Tech. Oklahoma hasn’t yet played Texas Tech, and when the Sooners met the Jayhawks, Kansas held Oklahoma to a mere 52 points, the Sooners’ lowest total of the season.

The biggest question is, how well can Oklahoma adjust to the way Baylor plays? Baylor has shown no issues with changing its speed depending on the opponent, but the Sooners haven’t demonstrated that they can win a slow-paced game and maintain their composure in the process. That’s a big problem against the Bears because Baylor likely isn’t going to be pushed into playing Oklahoma’s game. Only one team has managed to score more than 70 points against Baylor this season, and that only happened because the Wildcats managed to shoot 52 percent from the field. Given that the Sooners shot 30.6 percent against Kansas at home, it’s unlikely they’ll manage 52 percent against Baylor.

Oklahoma will Cover if:

The Sooners can keep the Bears off the offensive glass. One of the keys to Baylor’s game is extending its possessions by grabbing offensive rebounds and keeping the ball out of the hands of the opponent. Baylor has grabbed the rebound 37 percent of the time on the offensive end, which ranks 10th in the nation and has helped keep the ball away from the other team’s shooters. Oklahoma is the exact opposite, as it hardly grabs much of anything on the offensive end. That means that the Sooners are likely to be taking one shot per possession most of the time, and they’ve got to keep the Bears to a similar ratio, or they’re going to find themselves behind in a hurry.

Baylor will Cover if:

The Bears can get a quality game out of guard Jared Butler. Unlike Oklahoma, Baylor is not dependent on any one player. However, there is no question that Butler is the one player that the Bears don’t want to find themselves without. Butler brings a dimension to the Bears that allows the rest of the team to focus on defense while he’s creating shots for himself and the rest of the squad. If he’s off, the Bears are in trouble.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:

It’s been tough to trust anyone in college basketball this season, with the exception of Gonzaga. But Baylor is starting to move into that category itself with its performances this year. Other than a bad loss to Washington, the Bears have been a remarkably consistent team, in large part, because “defense” is the one thing that you can consistently count on no matter where the game is played.

That includes the likes of Wake Forest and the fact that this total probably got set a little inside the minds of Kansas City that the game wasn’t over. While I appreciated that Kansas City was willing to keep fighting, the reality is that this is the type of game where one side is likely to get its numbers and then back off. Give me the Bears to keep things going and get a comfortable win that pairs well with the under. Where are you betting your NCAA basketball picks? Does your book allow you to bet on games at discounted odds? NO! Stop overpaying for -110 and make the switch to reduced juice -105 TODAY! Making the switch will save you THOUSANDS of dollars in risked amount! Click here to spend 2 minutes signing up at 5Dimes!

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